Lieutenant Government Elizabeth Roberts is hosting a care package drive this weekend to support Rhode Island soldiers. The initiative “Operation Holiday Cheer” is sending 350 care packages to soldiers serving overseas this holiday season. Anyone can bring donations to the Rhode Island National Guard Armory this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Spokesperson Maria Tocco said donations of simple things like powdered drink mix, coffee syrup, beef jerky, and batteries are received with gratitude by the troops.
A large group of Rhode Island National guardsmen is set to return from deployment Thursday and Friday.
About 120 members of the Air National Guard will return home; arriving at Quonset Point over the next two days. They’re members of the 143rd Airlift Wing unit, who’ve been stationed in South West Asia. They’ve been deployed for as many as six months, working as pilots, aircraft maintenance crews and support staff.
Sen. Jack Reed has begun reviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed military budget. Reed is a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, which will play a role in passing legislation to enact the budget. He says he’s looking carefully for ways to balance the need to trim spending while ensuring the nation’s military can meet the new kinds of security threats it may face in the future.
For example, Reed says he hopes to maintain funding for Rhode Island-based military research.
Throughout the state Monday there were parades and wreath-laying ceremonies to honor the veterans who have passed away. For the living there were free meals at several local restaurants.
Fire and Ice Restaurant at Providence Place Mall has been serving up free meals to veterans on Veterans Day for the past three years. This year, they expanded the freebie to include immediate family members as well. Restaurant manager Brian Ahlquist said it’s their way of saying thanks to those who have served out country in uniform.